The Collectors

Robert Carter, Author Lothrop, Lee and Shepard Books $14 (288p) ISBN 978-0-688-13763-2
Australian author Carter's dark ode to the inner life of bugs and the intricate wonders of insect society resonates with depth, insight and compassion, but the tale is so idiosyncratric that it may lose much of its intended audience. A renegade band of ``collectors,'' cockroach-like insects, have organized themselves into territorial ``circles'' and raid their human cohabitants for food scraps (described in fantasy vernacular as ``chumps'' and ``spills''). Edwud K, on a mission from the Director, strikes out with a small cadre of followers to search for the crucial ``Monoocal,'' which reflects the image of ``our otherselves.'' The group's adventures include recovering from a near-fatal dose of insecticide while finding asylum in a greenhouse; a mystical encounter with a camera lens in a movie theater; and a visit to a church. The bug's-eye view of the world, the delicate interdependence of the insect colony and the inner monologues of various characters are a steady source of amusement, but the density of the language may present a serious challenge for the younger members of the targeted age bracket. Ages 9-up. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/29/1994
Release date: 09/01/1994
Genre: Children's
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